Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In the debate tonight, Gingrich gave the most stellar answers once again, and the applause suggested that the audience thought so too. I think Ron Paul really looked stupid with his harping about how the legal system worked so well in the Timothy McVeigh case when Gingrich answered that McVeigh succeeded in his act of terrorism, and proceeded to argue that we can't afford to let terrorism succeed and then rely on our ability to catch and punish the terrorists. Mitt gave good answers, but wasn't as smooth and eloquent at Gingrich. Cain and Perry both answered by repeating what they've said before, and not particularly impressively. Santorum and Bachmann were passionate, but really didn't say much to impress us. Ron Paul had flacks in the audience as usual, but when he talks about cancelling the war on drugs, I don't think most people were buying it. Cain was well prepared for the question about enforcing the borders, but the old zing just wasn't there anymore. All of them except Gingrich sounded like they're tiring of these debates, but maybe that's just me. Gingrich loves to drop names of all kinds of new proposals, like the "red card" idea he referred to, but this one sounds a lot like the amnesty he helped pass in the 1980s.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jonathan Cohn listens to Rush Limbaugh and divines that his opposition to Romney is because he hates Romneycare, explaining that
universal health care requires a lot of regulation and redistribution. Last time I checked, Limbaugh hates these things. So do his listeners. And that's not all. If you want health care reform to reduce the cost of health care, as you should, then you also need to start changing the way we deliver medical care in this country. Romneycare actually didn’t do this (although Massachusetts lawmakers are trying now) but Obamacare did – partly by cutting payments to private insurers that work with Medicare and partly by changing the financial incentives, in public and private insurance, that rewarded quantity over quality. I'm pretty sure Limbaugh hate these changes, as well. I know other conservatives do. Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting the individual mandate is irrelevant, as policy or as politics. If nothing else, it's given conservatives an easy and useful target, because it's the one part of health care reform most people understand. But don’t be fooled. The primary reason Limbaugh and his listeners don't like universal health care is that they reject the basic concept. They simply don't believe in using government to make sure every American has access to affordable health care.
Oh, no! He's figured us out! We reject the basic concept of nationalized health care. The cat's out of the bag! But we should remember that Romneycare was based on an idea from the conservative Heritage Foundation as a means of making freeloaders on hospital emergency rooms be responsible for their own care. It wasn't intended as a national program. Tonight on Hannity, Romney explained that he vetoed some parts of the bill, such as requiring insurers to cover a prescribed list of treatment and requiring employers to pay for insurance for all their employees, but his vetoes were overridden. My first choice would be to allow ERs to refuse service to people who can't pay. Health care isn't cheap anc if we're going to allow people to pawn their costs off onto other patients and their insurance, we ought to provide some better way to recoup them. But Federal Law requires that emergency care be provided regardless of ability to pay. Somebody had better come up with a better idea, because this stuff isn't going away.